Fixed or Fit

Last Update: November 24, 2019

Fixed or Fit

It has been my privilege to work as a counselor within the prison system in Hawaii. I get to speak with inmates and there families. One of the expectations is that our treatment center will "Fix" or "cure" alcohol and other drug addictions. After all "isn't that why he/she is in treatment"? This question is a complicated question because addiction is a human condition and there is no fix for the human condition. After years of studying the complex of some doing well after release from prison and those that are arrested and returned to treatment within a couple months. Is there a common denominator?

A common understanding of addiction

I to use the word addiction in the blog. Currently, psychologists use the term "substance use disorder", (SUD). There is a difference between the formal and the informal understanding here. What actually counts is how the person in their addiction understands their condition. Nevertheless, professional staff diagnosis and non-professionals experience being out of control and may or may not understand what is happening with themselves. They experience illness. I will not help anyone to stigmatize or label another person. I do not want a client to adopt my understanding. I am most interested in supporting a client to come to terms with their own understanding and help them accept what is causing pain and frustration.

The common denominator

The common denominator is our human interest in enjoying happiness. Addiction, if I am accurate here, is "the ritualized obsession to seek comfort". I would be a fool if I thought this definition is the only definition, but it is a start. In some research addiction actually becomes a drive like hunger, thirst, parenting, or procreation. Addicted behavior actually moves human drives to the side and become overwhelmed releasing behavior, drug seeking behavior, trump normal human drives. "I would rather gamble my rent money than use it for my need for a place to sleep". I had one client who was a meat inspector with the US food and drug administration. He told me that while under the influence of methamphetamine he thought every thing was "all right", including losing his job, home, marriage, while living under a bridge in western Hawaii. That is the delusion and happiness I am talking about. "As long as I was high my life felt Great.

Fixed or fit

My read of the huge amount of research in addiction suggests that an evidence based treatment is what works; in other words, Treatment centers do well to teach coping skills and replacement behaviors as well as skills that improve resliiance against addictions. Their is not fix or cure, as addiction resides in the reward system hidden in the sub-linguistic brain. In a moment of relaxation, we may get an echo from the past that suggests happiness is one pill away. When fit, ex-addicts can chose a behavior contrary to the instant gratification that the reward promises. I'm T2 diabetic and after 25 years I chose to take responsiblity to make food choices that generates a fit condition in relations to my addiction to the SAD diet, the Standard American Diet. Being fit takes diligence. At the same time, the less often we give into the ping of an echo from the past, the brain will trim or prune those pathways, which maybe a fix, but I will have to wait a decade before I enter the supermarket without wanting to know where the cold beer is stored. Get fit, Stay fit and pursue autonomy.

Autonomy is the psychological need to experience self-direction and personal endorsement in the initiation and regulation of one’s behavior.

Thank you, Dr. Jeff

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KoKo777 Premium
Your blog truly explains addiction. Thank you. Question: Does an addict ever truly become free of wanting the high? Some people never give this behavior up. After multiple treatment centers some still don't conquer addiction. My heart goes out to people fighting for their lives and sometimes they lose. Thank you for your work with addicts and inmates.
JHermes Premium
Koko, You are asking the right question. My definition of addiction is "ritualized obsession to comfort-seeking". I don't think people will not want comfort-seeking. We are hard-wired to seek pleasure. I am. For sure. That is why I don't visit Disneyland. Long lines are contradictory to pleasure for me. Plus, the last time I was there, they did not sell beer. and I don't have kids.

Hawaii made medical THC legal. I bought my first legal pot. It brought pleasure for me, as well as pain relief.

Perhaps I want to say that addiction is not the problem. The lack of mental health treatment, poverty, wars, and many other trauma's bring about the misuse of legal and illegal drugs.

If you believe there is not wellness following addiction there probably is none. Some management will be necessary. I am T2 Diabetic. I beat it with a change in diet and activity. My numbers are normal. If I start ignoring my discipline, it will return.

Dr, Jeffrey
BobMargroff Premium Plus
Dr Jeff, that was an amazing article...I learned a whole lot about addiction treatments... or at least the basis behind the methods.

So, understanding the trigger is a way to work through the addiction...interesting. It was a great read, I greatly enjoyed it.

I wish you the best!

JHermes Premium
Thank you for your positive post. Addiction is really about kiaa id responsibility of a person's responsibility. Jeffrey
Twack Premium
An excellent article Dr.Jeff. Not an easy subject to tackle especially within the confines of a post. Making new neural pathways is something I can get behind, alongside creating negative associations that get triggered when the 'echoes' are heard.
CStauber Premium
Great information to know about addiction.

Stanleycmng Premium Plus
Thanks for the education, learned a bit on addiction and the politically correct SUD.

- Stanley